For Immediate Release
March 19, 2021
Manu Tupper or Mike Inacay (Schatz) at firstname.lastname@example.org
ICYMI: NEW YORK TIMES HIGHLIGHTS AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN’S HISTORIC FUNDING FOR NATIVE COMMUNITIES
WASHINGTON – The New York Times published an article highlighting the more than $31 billion in federal funding for Tribes and Native communities in the American Rescue Plan Act – the biggest one-time investment in Native programs in history. This new funding will empower American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to tackle COVID-19’s impacts on their communities.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ comprehensive resource guide and FAQs provide more information on the resources available to Tribes and Native communities through the American Rescue Plan.
The New York Times article is below.
Tribal Communities Set to Receive Big New Infusion of Aid
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package provides $31 billion for tribal nations and Indigenous people to address longstanding problems like poor health care.
By Mark Walker and Emily Cochrane
March 18, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — After a year that provided stark new evidence of how racial inequities and a lack of federal funding had left tribal communities and Indigenous people especially vulnerable to crises like the pandemic, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are seeking to address those longstanding issues with a huge infusion of federal aid.
The $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week by Mr. Biden contains more than $31 billion for tribal governments and other federal programs to help Native populations, a record level of assistance intended to help bolster health care and a variety of other services in some of the nation’s poorest communities.
The money is a crucial plank of Mr. Biden’s vow to address racial and economic inequities and is a potentially transformative lifeline for tribes, who were among the hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus.
It is also a high-profile step toward more equitable treatment after centuries of treaty violations and failures by the federal government to live up to its obligations. Mr. Biden signed the law last Thursday, and on Monday the Senate confirmed Deb Haaland, who had been representing New Mexico in the House, as interior secretary, the first Native American woman to serve in the cabinet.
The new legislation, passed without a single Republican vote, allocates $20 billion to tribal governments. It also includes more than $6 billion for the Indian Health Service and other Native American health systems, including a $20 million fund for Native Hawaiians, as well as $1.2 billion for housing and more than $1.1 billion for primary, secondary and higher education programs.
The new money comes on top of $8 billion allocated to tribal governments by Congress last March in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law, and additional funding for tribal health and education services in other relief legislation passed last year.
“Our promise to them has always been — on any of these issues — they will have a seat at the table,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in an interview. “It’s essential that we’re listening to the specific issues.”
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, said during a floor speech that the legislation “takes us a giant step closer to fulfilling our trust responsibilities to all Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.”
The aid comes after a year that devastated Native people across the country, as poverty, multigenerational housing and underlying health conditions contributed to the deadly spread of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in August that in nearly half the states, Native Americans were disproportionately affected by the virus compared with their white counterparts.
“There’s nothing more unjust than the way we currently treat Native people in the United States with whom we have treaty interest, and this was an opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is,” said Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, the chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee. “This is quite literally the biggest down payment in American history in the right direction, in the direction of justice.”
Read the full New York Times article here.